Putting together the pieces to maths mastery

mathematical genius begins with puzzle piecesPutting together the pieces to maths mastery

Being good at maths helps you get ahead in the world…..

So are maths whizzes born or made ?

Genes do count, but environment contributes A LOT.

This week’s Neurotechnology Tip points out what in the environment, can stimulate your mathematical genius.

Puzzling out maths talent

Researchers from the University of Chicago invited 53 children to visit their play centre regularly and spend 90 minutes PLAYING, with all their cool toys. The kids came to play every four months from the age of 2 to 4 years old.

The children were required to bring along a parent and were chosen from different parts of town, to make sure that the study included children from a variety of backgrounds.

The child-parent combos were told to act NORMAL and PLAY.

In the background, the PLAYTIME was recorded on video. This video feed was then analyzed by the researchers.

The puzzle count

The researchers poured through hours and hours of footage, looking at the child-parent-toy interactions – puzzle time was carefully documented.

So what happened in puzzle corner ?

Mathematical whizzes were made.

Puzzle people are maths people 

These were the kids who were the top maths performers at 54 months, when all the children in the study underwent a comprehensive assessment by the educational psychologist on the team.

NOTE : At this age, maths skills are determined by the ability to rotate and translate shapes. 4½ year olds are not up to addition, subtraction and times tables.

Putting the pieces together

Puzzle play helped these little ones be better at transforming shapes. And being able to shift shapes, is associated with mathematical success years later.

So puzzle play is one way to develop a brain that thinks mathematically.

Graduate to 500 piece puzzle

Now you might be thinking………… I’m too old for puzzles.

No you’re not.

Putting together a 12 piece puzzle is not going to build too many neuronal pathways, but a 500 piece puzzle may.

And a brain is NEVER TOO OLD to learn.

Wire yourself for mathematical success

So if you feel like a mathematical dunce, try turning off the TV, iphone and ipad and go back to basics.

Build a big puzzle on the dining room table – make it social, do it with family or friends.

Puzzling over where the pieces go, will be building your mathematical wiring. And the improved wiring can only help bring out the mathematical genius in you.

Puzzle play helps boost learning maths-related skills - press release from University of Chicago

To wire up your brain a little each week ………………..

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Further reading

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Hire Dr Sandy from a Spoonful of Science to be the keynote speaker at your next event.

Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below

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